I hope all of my U.S. readers are enjoying the long Labor Day weekend. A week of gray and rainy weather gave way to the most beautiful weekend here in Charlotte. I’m all dressed and ready to go meet Virginia for a run after I finish this post.
Typically I save my weekend activities for my weekend recap post but last night’s date night was too fun not to receive its own post. I think some of you who live in the Charlotte area might even want to recreate this night for yourselves!
Lately I have been feeling the urge to get out of our standard groove and try some new Charlotte spots. And not just hot spots but off the beaten path local gems. We were feeling a low-key night out on Saturday so we decided to venture out to Matthews to try one of the restaurants on my list, Yume Bistro.
It’s an authentic Japanese restaurant serving ramen, curries and an array of appetizers including things like dumplings, pork belly steam buns, poke bowls and Japanese street food specialties. This article in Charlotte Magazine has a great overview of the restaurant and their story.
It’s tucked away in a Harris Teeter shopping center next to a pizza place. I first learned about it from an article in the Charlotte Agenda sharing that they’re moving to South End. I knew I had to check out the original location before they moved.
We arrived around 8:30 p.m. on Saturday evening to find one large table leaving and one other small table of three people. There are only eight tables in the whole restaurant! The decor is very simple but the place is cozy. The service was fast and attentive.
We shared two appetizers to start. The first was the gyoza or pork dumplings.
And the second was the takoyaki or fried octopus balls. It’s kind of like a fried ball of dough with octopus pieces in it. We knew we had to try these and they were so different! The craziest thing was the katsuobushi or bonito flakes on top that were moving! Apparently, the steam from the food makes them do that.
I wanted to try a ramen bowl on my first visit. I went with the miso ramen which was pork bone broth, miso flavored ramen, bean sprouts, sweet corn, kikurage, scallions, nori and aji-tama (marinated egg).
Maybe it was our later evening visit but our server told me that the chef sent out two pork rib bones for us and they typically don’t do that. Given that they make their broth homemade from scratch and cook it over 20 hours, the meat on the bones was tender, flavorful and delicious.
I really enjoyed this ramen and would love to go back and try some of the other flavors, especially the Korean kimchi ramen and the Thai curry ramen.
Tanner ordered one of the donburi rice bowls. He went with the unagi don which was barbecued eel over rice with homemade pickles. I had a bite but I have to admit that eel isn’t my thing. I like it in small doses in sushi but not quite this much at one time. He enjoyed it and that’s all that matters!
I’m excited to try some of YUME Bistro’s other offerings. The curries are high on my list and the chef has a chalkboard full of daily specials. They aren’t moving until around Thanksgiving so hopefully we can get back soon.
In chatting with our server we learned that the South End location will be much larger and will feature the same menu as well as sushi and also have a full bar. This location does not serve alcohol, FYI.
Driving to and from the Matthews Farmers Market I spotted a gelato shop in Matthews named Artisen. I’ve been wanting to check it out and Saturday evening after dinner seemed like the perfect time.
I was so surprised to learn that all of their gelato is allergen-free. No dairy, no tree nuts, no soy, no gluten, etc. Everything is vegan. I went with the cookies and cream and creme brûlée flavors and you would never know that they’re allergen-free. It’s also worth noting that they have tons of fruit flavors that are all made from natural fruit and many that are tropical, exotic and interesting.
It was such a fun night out! We can’t wait to do more exploring of new (and just new to us) spots in the Charlotte area!
Do you enjoy seeking out new restaurants and trying new cuisines?
Charlotte readers…any hidden gems I should know about?
Have you had authentic Japanese ramen before?